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I love Southern Rail

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by MichaelO, 11 Dec 2016.

  1. MichaelO

    MichaelO Über Member

    Merstham, Surrey
    They're making me up my usually low December mileage. Another week of non-existent trains by the looks of things

    BrumJim, jonny jeez, mjr and 5 others like this.
  2. raleighnut

    raleighnut Guru

    On 3 Wheels
  3. OP

    MichaelO Über Member

    Merstham, Surrey
    I usually commute twice a week (20 miles each way, and childcare makes it tough to do more) - but it'll be a minimum of 3 through December, and probably more like 4. Just hope the mild weather continues!
  4. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Glad it's helping someone. The actions of Southern operator Govia seem nothing short of a scandal, both the general concept of pushing a dispute about driver-only operation of the longest trains all the way through to strikes and today's particular allegations of cancelling services that they could have run. With the Home Secretary attacking the ASLEF union, I almost wonder if the May government is trying to give rail operators a union-busting Christmas present...

    Does anyone here actually want to travel on trains with nearly a thousand other seats (and probably far more passengers at peak) with only the driver?
    Clanghead and raleighnut like this.
  5. srw

    srw AGM 2008, Dykes medal 2011

    Normal on many lines, local and reasonably long-distance, including the whole of the London Underground network.

    I detest the actions of Southern and the government, but every time I get on a SouthWest train I'm mystified as to why guards still exist in the 21st century.
    Ride2017 likes this.
  6. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    The LU network is mostly a lot more tightly controlled than the surface one, plus much slower (average 21mph, top about 70mph) and the fastest stock has whole-train CCTV and track-to-train video. The long-train driver-only surface lines (Thameslink, London Overground and part of Southern) seem to have most of the CCTV and track-to-train, plus consistency of train types. Other lines running long trains like c2c or Southeastern on HS1 have preferred to keep having a second crew member on the long trains.

    It lets companies operate trains more safely without expensive station infrastructure, doesn't it? I suspect there's a few who-will-blink-first contents going on (notably Southern at Southeastern or South West Trains stations, but also SWT at GWRs) where an operator doesn't want to be the first to being Driver Only Operation to another company's station and probably be asked to pay for the upgrades.
  7. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    Except guards on trains don't serve free champagne like air stewards ;)

    Thameslink don't have guards, nor do the southern trains I get to work (or would if they weren't on strike) from an unmanned station
  8. NorthernDave

    NorthernDave Never used Über Member

    One service that the guards do provide is assisting disabled passengers on and off the train, including deploying a ramp for wheelchairs where needed.
    Wasn't a disability action group threatening Southern with court action if the guards were removed as it would effectively mean someone in a wheelchair wouldn't be able to get on / off a train at many stations?
    I'm not sure what the arrangements are with other train operators who already run DOO services, but it sounds a valid point.
  9. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Free champagne is dying out as bare bones operators take over and stewards become Sky Mall sales assistants. I guess their unions aren't great ;)

    Thameslink are upgraded stations and I suspect your southern is either that line or shorter trains.
  10. srw

    srw AGM 2008, Dykes medal 2011

    The driver does it, or on some stations the platform has been built up so that there's no step.

    I've been riding driver-only operated trains all my working life - first from Bicester to London on Chiltern, and now on either TfL (Met line) or Chiltern from Amersham. I believe Chiltern uses driver-only operation all the way from London to Kidderminster, which isn't exactly a short journey, and north of Aynho Junction is entirely on lines shared with other operators, including Cross-Country inter-city trains. Although some of the tracks are equipped with the latest (20-year-old) safety equipment, not all of them are. The trains are almost as long as the Southern trains that operate with guards, and include stretches of tunnel.

    The "magic", such as it is, appears to be that the TV monitors on the platforms that link to the station CCTV are placed so that they're convenient for the driver rather than for the notional guard.

    Of course, if we'd still had a proper nationalised system the sort of investment which could have reduced staffing levels, and so ticket prices, might well have been made across the network 20 years ago rather than only on isolated lines.
  11. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    Indeed. How many rail users here would that be an option for? @srw says Amersham which seems to be about 30 miles each-way, which seems it would be like a fairly testing daily cycle commute - about 2 hours even with an ebike ramped up to the legal maximum 15mph (I'm hoping the stops would be balanced by descents where it could roll faster).

    http://webarchive.nationalarchives....nalysis/distance-travelled-to-work/index.html says the national average commute distance is 15km, which is about an hour's easy cycling and the London area tends to have shorter commutes (the London average is 10km but of course lots of people commute into London from outside), but I suspect rail users will tend to travel further than average.

    Chiltern driver-only trains are 8-car at most, aren't they? Fewer doors for the driver to watch on the TV screens at stations. (Edit: amongst other things)
    Last edited: 13 Dec 2016
  12. That's excellent.

    Do you think you might keep it up once the strikes are resolved?
  13. It would be great to think that the action would actually contribute to healthier, cheaper travel for many.

    I wonder if the number of scooter riders has risen in response.
  14. OP

    MichaelO Über Member

    Merstham, Surrey
    I've commuted for 2-3 days a week since 2012, but have only been doing 2 most weeks for the last 12-18 months due to the Mrs also working in London & doing my share of the school run. I think I've done 5 days a week twice - but both of those were in summer months when the kids were away at the in-laws!!

    I'll certainly keep my usual Thurs & Fri commutes - but the strike (which sounds like it will continue on well into 2017) gives me a good excuse to up that to 3-4 (work are relaxed about me arriving late on days I need to sort the kids & then cycle in during the strike - don't get to my desk much before 9:30 on those days)

    Roads were crazy busy this morning though - clearly people moved from using the trains to using the roads! :sad:
  15. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    I'm not sure. Roads up here in Norfolk were crazy busy (longer queues than usual inbound around 0900, plus queues on the A149 out of Lynn at 1030ish) and we've no transport strikes. Could there be some other reason why more people are motoring today?